As part of research to put together an observing booklet , I again turned to the Swan. Using a 200mm f6 Orion Optics Newt gave stunning views. Stars are very clear due to the single secondary vane. The prize here is 59 Cygni, very pleased to have teased out the third element, Nick.
Swadlincote 1-2/7/18 Orion Optics 200 f6 11mm Nagler 23mm Panoptic.
It’s getting darker out there ! A foray until 1 ,caught some beautiful sights especially in Cygnus. I usually observe with refractors, recently getting down to .9 arc seconds separation using the 150. Secondary vanes produce spikes making binary stars difficult. The more modest size Newtonian from Orion Optics do come with a single vane , producing marble like stars of great clarity.
However , Newts do not give the contrast of refractors and are less indifferent to seeing (atmospheric disturbance) and transparency. Some results from Cygnus , part of a project to note the best views, which will be posted when complete.
The open clusters ,M39, M29 and NGC 2910 came up , but are best with a bit more darkness. I was surprised when Paul ( our long distant visitor ) sent over his observing notes.
A year ago he was trying for nebula and galaxies from the middle of St.Helens. He was getting pretty frustrated until I advised him to get a TAL 100 and Sissy Haas, “Double stars for small telescopes “. As you can tell he loves colour and triple stars.
Both Cepheus and Cygnus are well placed. Jupiter and Saturn giving some lovely views. Mars is more difficult , reports if dust storms possibly mashing surface features for the observer. The “Garnet star” , mu Cephei is essential viewing , spot it by eye at the base of Cepheus.
Here’s my effort at Polaris positional error, not bad,
Better than the wire tangle from two dew heaters and a battery booster !
I found these , worth a look ! At arm’s length , the moon is covered by a fingernail. Yet it looks so huge and glaring when full. Binoculars will give you the “seas” and areas where Apollo missions landed. Under clear skies ! Nick.
I joined Damian in his garden in Streethay to observe the solar disc today. Interesting to compare my very amateurish drawings with Roger’s amazing photos in his post from his session with the sun today! Still, it was great fun.
I think that Damian intends to add in his own post soon – his drawings were amazing…..the artist at work puts me in the shade!
Both Damian and I have Daystar Hydrogen Alpha filters for observing the sun and I also have a Daystar Calcium-H filter. The latter performed really well today showing up substantial white haloes around the sunspots and also in the area of the filament in Roger’s photo. I have tried to capture these white areas in my drawing of the Calcium-H view. That filter does not show the prominences – the H-Alpha filter is required for that.
The drawings below were all drawn at my telescope:
- Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm on Manfrotto mount
- Daystar Hydrogen Alpha and Calcium-H filters
- Televue Plossl 32mm eyepiece
- Baader 8-28mm zoom eyepiece
The ‘big day‘… and the weather couldn’t have been better… sunny for most of the day plus into the evening forecast (although there appeared to be a layer of high cloud).
There was great excitement in the Briden household to see what our guest would appear in… would it be a one or two piece, perhaps sandals… or a hat.. or come completely ill-prepared…
Look who came around to play, after arriving in her (motorised) carriage !
Yes, well ‘Meghan‘ is a bit shy after all… and these solar hoods/veils can be a right pain to get into!
And a pic of ‘her’ using her own scope and trying a different… veil…
Our solar panels had a cracking day also – generating over 24kWh.
To get into the spirit of things Julie appeared with flags…
What a fine specimen of a man is our ‘Harry‘… It was a first chance for him to use his updated home-made sun shield – now faced with white card to reflect some heat and so stop the main cardboard construction warping (the other face is covered with DC-fix black self adhesive felt – the same stuff that ‘Harry’ had lined his 10″ OO Dob some years ago…)
Although the seeing was not so good today, one has to make do when the opportunity arises… besides it didn’t spoil the generally good feel of the day… we even managed a celebratory glass of Pimms No.1 no less – I say, can’t get more British than that!
Following two images are taken hand held, iPhone6 to a 32mm TV Plossl, (Takahashi TSA102s, Daystar Quark Chromosphere, 2″ Baader UV/IR blocking filter inserted before the diagonal), running at 107x
…showing a fantastic set of ‘Newton’s (wedding) Rings‘ there!
This prominence can be seen on the GONG images at the 8 o’clock position…
..and later at 4.44pm
My sketches of the evolving prominences throughout the ‘big’ day…
After a great day, we retired for dinner, then set up again with changed attire…. ready for the…. ‘evening event‘!
What a beauty, hey! Just checking how he looks on the ole social media! Here featured in a RAG jacket, matching trousers and footwear by….
Lunar shot taken at 9.50pm, iPhone 6 hand held to the 21mm TV Ethos (TEC 140-ED APO refractor)
..and another slightly later at 10.05pm (not so zoomed in) – those damn paparazzi, hey….
Had a chance to do some drawing…. managed quick sketches of both the Western and Eastern (Bridal) Veil portions. Seeing and transparencey was not good and my intended target, Jupiter, was just not great tonight to bother with…
Managed to just pick out the Crescent Nebula in Cygnus (only via my 2″ Lumicon OIII and UHC filters), but I’ve seen it through the same scope much clearer on a previous occasion.
Most tricky observation came early on in the evening after following Andy… sorry ‘Meghan’ to M81/M82… came across ‘Coddington Nebula’ in the same vicinity – IC2574, a spiral galaxy in Ursa Major, running at Mag 10.4. Took averted vision, patience and the superb Sky Safari Pro 5 charts (able to reverse the chart as well which really helps to double check everything). Discovered by Edwin Coddington in 1898 and classified first as a ‘nebula’.
Best observation was the ISS flypast just after half 12. Was able to use the laser pointer attached to the Nova Hitch mount to track it sufficiently well for brief periods to see the Space Station as clear as day through the eyepiece as it whizzed passed the ‘adoring throngs‘!
So to wrap up this post, a few pictures of the ‘Happy Couple‘ in the garden at Briden Palace!
…off on ‘honeymoon’ to RAG this Friday!
Damian (and Andy!)
There are few deep sky objects which get the excitement going , this huge (six times the size of the full moon) supernovae remnant is one of the finest. The whole remnant is the “loop” is 100 light years across . Discovered by William Herschel , this must have been some find .
The forces unleashed in supernovas created by nuclear fusion , heavy elements. Gold is an admirable and readily available element thus formed , so is much of ourselves ! These supernova clouds can be recycled to form stars and planets. These gaseous , particulate and glowing clouds are thrilling to trace and observe. Even M1, the ” Crab” nebula looks quite spectacular in darker skies.
There is just the slimmest indication of the arc from light polluted skies. I’ve had the pleasure of showing it to three observers from home , who were quite pleased and amazed to see this for the first time. It’s an easy find off Cygnus. Dark skies will open this out into full wispiness. Even here , differences in darkness will give more to the view. It is possible to spot this by eye from the darkest of sites , along with the North American Nebula and the Great Cygnus Rift.
It’s easy to follow the arc right round from the bright Eastern Veil to the fainter Western Veil. NGC 6995 and NGC 6992 give the brightest areas. A UHC filter will enhance views, greatly darkening the background. Cygni 52 illuminates the Western Veil, look closely , this is a binary star. Even small scopes will show the bright loop.
Its a delight to sit at the scope and sketch some detail. It’ll be there to observe right through until autumn.
The Veil is always top of the list for dark site adventures, under clear skies ! Nick.
M42, the Orion Nebula, sketched when high in the sky (and therefore out of the worst light pollution), from town on a moonless night.
Equipment used was a 16 inch Dobsonian and 26mm Meade Super Plossl giving me about 80x magnification.
M42 always looks like someone’s right hand holding a bow to me. Ironic as its constellation is Orion the hunter.
(Coalville, 15th February 2018)
Thursday 18th January 10.30 to 11.30pm No moon Observing from my back garden in Coalville
After several unsuccessful evenings, I finally found Hubble’s variable nebula. The trick is to wait until it’s at its highest point in the sky and therefore out of the worst light pollution, i.e. directly south.
I was concerned it would be so small it would be difficult to distinguish from a star in the low magnification wide angle eyepiece I was using to search for it – like Neptune and Uranus. However, when I actually found it I realised you’d never mistake it for a star – it’s too dim. The reason I’d had difficulty finding it was because it’s just very faint, even in my 16 inch Dob.
Hubble’s variable nebula looks a bit like a very small globular cluster – just a smudge at low magnification. At higher magnification of a 100 or 150x you can discern a triangular shape, with just a hint of a star at the tip. The best view was without a UHC or OIII filter.
Hubble’s variable nebula can be found by hopping from the star in the bottom of the drawing to a nearby double star, and then onto the Nebula. It’s just above and to the left of Orion.
Had another go with the H-beta filter. I could see there was something there when I looked at the California Nebula, but I think I was using too small a FOV to make out any shape. I could see a bit of a fuzz surrounding one of the stars in the belt of Orion, but no Horsehead nebula. M43 wasn’t any better with the filter. The only significant extra detail I could see was a line behind the bow in the Orion nebula. Not sure whether to keep the filter.
Wednesday 12th December 2017
8.30 to 10pm Moon just past first quarter
A while ago at the club, someone suggested I try and see all six stars in the trapezium with my 16 inch Dobsonian. Last night was really clear and I managed to see all six. I had a vague recollection I’d managed this before, but have only been able to see the four brighter stars the last few times I’ve tried. It must be something to do with seeing conditions/transparency.
All six stars were visible in my Vixen LVW 13mm eyepiece, which provides 155x magnification in my scope. The fainter two stars weren’t visible in my 8mm Televue Radian eyepiece, but I recall seeing them in an old Televue plossl eyepiece I used to own.
Comparing the two faint stars, the bottom one is slightly more inclined towards its neighbour, whereas the top one is pointing out more to open space. The bottom one is easier to see, but both stars were coming in and out of view, depending on atmospheric conditions.
The forecast was correct, clear skies, a chance to used the skywatcher ST102 bought earlier in year and only used for solar work so far. ( see pic.1)
I started under the carport ,as moon was not visible from back garden, not quite first quarter, used it to complete lining up red dot finder, took some getting use to smaller image after the 8″ Newtonian or the 9.25″ SCT. When at IAS I bought a smartphone adapter to take afocal images using the wifes’ new smartphone, now was on opportunity to try it out, pic.2 shows adapter and phone, pic.3 image of moon, notice the chromatic aberration, however visually it was not noticeable. The image was taken with a 30mm plossl eyepiece with this 500mm focal length refractor this gives a mag of x17. The crater marked with a red dot in the centre is Ptolemaeus, at slightly higher magnifications the centre of crater appeared to have horizontal bands across it, is this an artefact, blemish on objective/ diagonal?? at a mag of x83 (6mm plossl) all was revealed there were shadow bands from the peaks on the Eastern crater wall, the wall reaches heights of 3000m (9000+ ft) and with the sun relatively low on the moons horizon the peaks cast some long shadows, it was fascinating watching the shadows shorten even over a relatively short period of time , Liz had taken her phone back, so I have attempted a sketch of the shadows cast over the crater floor ( see pic.4), the floor is relatively smooth, having been flooded with lava, some very minor impact craters formed since, the darker shading on the west is due to floor slumping towards crater wall. This was the first time I have seen such marked shadows on a crater floor formed by the crater walls, shadows from central peaks are usually observed and just blanket shadow from the wall, the continual changing of relative positions of sun and moon makes the terminator a dynamic visual environment, there is always something new to see, even in one evening.
I then relocated to the back garden, starting in the SW with Albireo in Cygnus, the 10mm plossl ( x50) clearly showed B1 cyg ( Alberio) as a orange red K class star and B2 cyg B class blue star. Taking a line down to zeta Aq from Albireo, bisecting the line from Vega to Altair, just slightly left the Coat hanger asterism fell neatly into the field of view using a 40mm plossl ( x12.5) , normally I would use binoculars for this target, but the wider field of view afforded by this small refractor enables it to be seen in its entirety. Up into Lyra,aiming between Sulafat and Shellak to locate the Ring Nebula ( M57), fuzzy ring but no hint of central white dwarf in this planetary nebula. Continuing west into Hercules M13 and then up to M92, even with 6mm plossl ( x 83) not a lot of detail. Better with the double cluster in Perseus and as I headed to M31, Andromeda galaxy the cloud had rolled in bring the session to a close at around 9:30.
It was nice to get out with some clear skies and I found the AZ3 mount that came with the ST102 easy to use and manoeuvre and although the refractor shows some chromatic abberation as shown by the photograph of moon , visually it was not noticeable enough to be a problem.
here’s to more clear skies!!!